I live in a small town on a road that has a speed drop from 55mph to 45mph to 30mph in about a mile. In that mile there are a grand total of 3 signs informing you of the speed change, and two lights, one of which is only triggered(and where it switches to 30) if there is cross traffic, the other where it crosses a major state/county highway going from Minneapolis to St Cloud, Minnesota. The road I live on is a county road on one side of the highway, and a city/county road on the other, with a 30mph speed limit from that first cross traffic triggered stop light all through town. This is all important.
Our stretch of road is treated as an extension of the 45mph zone. It is a residential area, full of people walking to the gas station, running, jogging, and there are several blind people who live here because it is one of the few neighborhoods with clearly marked crosswalks and well kept sidewalks. But, the intersection just a block down from the major intersection of the two roads, and two houses up from our house, is a nightmare. There is an accident there at least twice a week, several pedestrians have been hit crossing at the crosswalk despite the signs that MNDOT and the city have put up on both sides of the road that are visible in the dark stating that pedestrians have the right of way and all traffic must stop. One idiot always speeds around the stopped cars, in a hurry, or fails to stop because they are talking on their cell phone. Daily we have at least 6 people pulled over inn front of our house for speeding during the day, and at night we get many more pulled over for speeding or drunk driving, and on the weekends it is a free for all. There are no speed limit signs for an 8 block stretch, which is ridiculous.
But last night took the cake. I was home waiting for my husband and kids to get home and heard no screech or tires but a slam and thought it was just a semi going too fast and hit a bump. Next thing I know a neighbor is banging on the door letting me know that someone has run into our neighbor's house on the corner(again, 4th time in the 6 years we have lived here) and while there is at least one ambulance on the way, could I come out and keep an eye on things? So, the three of us go out there. It was a three car accident. One ambulance showed up immediately and had to leave since two people were severely injured and the EMTs were having a rather heated discussion about where the other "bus was so they could leave. Finally as one of the people got worse, they basically peeled out to the hospital about a mile away, and a second ambulance arrived to deal with seemed like the lesser injuries. The second one arrives in about 5 minutes, and still no police. Elapsed time at this point, about 15 minutes, since they had to work really hard to get the first two people out.
About 15 minutes AFTER the second ambulance arrived, and several 911 calls had been placed by me, my neighbor, the neighbor on the corner who had a huge truck in her yard, the driver of said truck, radio calls from the first and second ambulance drivers, and apparently the people working at the gas station across the street 4 police cars finally show up. Finally. What is insane about this is that from where the accident occurred to the police station is a two minute drive, max, as we live 5 blocks from the police station, and when I spoke to the dispatcher, all 5 times, I was told that they were right there. Since I was standing right there, I assured her they were not, gave her the location again, and asked where in the world they were, because this was not only a bad accident, but obstructing traffic and had almost caused several more accidents in the half hour it took the police to respond. My next door neighbor, who has a police band radio, was listening in on what was going on, and confirmed that there were no other accidents, nothing that he heard, other than utter confusion about the location of where the accident was. All of us that called it in gave the correct location. Corner of # ST NW and what the city calls the county highway, right across from national chain eatery. The dispatcher gave the location as # AVE NE and what the city calls the county highway, sending the police cars to the wrong location, a location that does not exist. Apparently the ambulance dispatchers work or talk independently, or spoke to a different dispatcher, as they reached the correct location, but good grief, it was, pardon my french, a complete and total clusterfuck.
The worst part was that after the second ambulance left the guy driving the truck that ran into the tree and had looked fine most of that time collapsed. At least the ambulance called for him arrived in minutes. He did not look too good when they loaded him up, but I do hope that he will be ok.
So, in short, terrible intersection, speed control fail, complete police response/dispatcher fail even though this is a fairly small town, and it just kept getting worse from there. And my neighbor is going to lose her tree and a good bit of grass. At least no one hit her house like last time, or her fence like the time before, or her garage like the time before that.......you get the picture. I say we need speed bumps to make people slow the fuck down- there are school bus stops on that corner, and tonight kids are going to be trick or treating. I can't wait for that.